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Working End of Robotic Arm on Phoenix
Working End of Robotic Arm on Phoenix

This illustration shows some of the components on and near the end of the robotic arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. Primary and secondary blades on the scoop will aid in the collection of soil samples. A powered rasp will allow the arm to sample an icy layer expected to be about as hard as concrete. The thermal and electrical conductivity probe, which is one part of the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, will assess how heat and electrons move through the soil from one spike to another of a four-spike electronic fork that will be pushed into the soil at different stages of digging by the arm.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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